Lola's focuses attention on Cajun cuisine

For more than 40 years, Lola Pokorny rooted for the New Orleans Saints to win the Super Bowl. And, for most of her adult life, Pokorny dreamed of opening her own restaurant.

The Saints took care of that first wish earlier this month. And, last October, Pokorny took care of the second when she opened Lola's, A Louisiana Kitchen, 241 W. Charleston Blvd.

"This is my life's dream. I'm living out a dream," she says.

Pokorny was born in New Orleans and comes from a long line of restaurateurs. She moved to Las Vegas about 20 years ago and, for about 16 of those years, owned and operated Cajun Connection, a private chef/catering company.

But she always knew that she'd like to open her own restaurant.

"I just felt like I needed to touch more lives and help people to experience the Cajun food we grew up on and the Southern hospitality that we give people," Pokorny says.

Pokorny -- whom longtime customers probably know as Beth -- describes her cuisine as authentic Cajun, which, she notes, is "not just hot food. It's layers of flavor."

Take, for instance, the house special: bronzed catfish and Gouda grits with an andouille and mushroom ragout ($14.99). Or, maybe, Pokorny's just-introduced weekends-only special of New Orleans-style boiled crawfish (market price).

Everything, including desserts, is made in-house, Pokorny notes, and sides include such Southern standards as sweet potato fries, Mardi Gras coleslaw and Lowcountry greens.

Lola's seats about 46 inside and about 20 outdoors. Hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays, and noon-10 p.m. Saturdays.

Reservations aren't required but are recommended.

Appetizers: Crawpuppies, $5.99; crab cakes, $6.99

Entrees: Cajun gumbo, $12.29 for a dinner portion or $4.29 for a cup; shrimp remoulade, $8.99; charbroiled oysters, $11.49 a half-dozen or $19.99 a dozen; New Orleans-style barbecued shrimp, $15.99; shrimp etouffee, $13.79; crawfish etouffee, $15.79; catfish platter, $11.79

Extras: Assorted po' boys, including fried oyster, catfish and roast beef debris, from $7.59 to $9.99

Desserts: Bread pudding, $5.99; Mamma Deux banana pudding, $3.99

Information: 227-5652



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